Title: The True Story of One Family’s Daring Escape to Freedom.
The author is: J.E. Laufer
The Publisher is: Little Egg Publishing Company
How do you live your life knowing that any day you might lose the little bit of freedom that you have been afforded? Some luxuries are so appreciated and many take them for granted but Kati and Adolph Egett did not. What happens when you feel the walls around you closing in and you realize that they have become your own form of prison as you wish for more for your two small children but have yet to figure out how? Looking around her and understanding that many of the families in Hungry have left hoping to find their freedom in other countries, Kati began to realize that it was time for them to leave too. Curfews were in place, food rationing, and other restrictions would make it even more difficult for them to remain there and a plan had to be devised to bring them safely to freedom. Visiting family members the next day brought them some comfort but not sharing their thoughts and realizing the dangers in telling them they wanted to leave helped to keep them all in check and their voices about leaving silent. But, leaving the next morning and realizing their daughter, Judit’s blanket was left behind what happens when Adolph learns that they left without any notice does not anger him but allows him the luxury of thinking maybe they need to follow suit.
How do you tell you parents that you are leaving and might never see them again? What choice do you have when it’s your children’s safety and life that you are willing to sacrifice it all for? Taking the first step to the train and hoping that the guards would not stop them was the first leg of many to freedom they hoped. Sometimes strangers can ask you questions and you hesitate about answering them but someone on the train befriends them, hands them piece of paper with a place that they should go to instead of Kapuvar, go to Sopron but was this the right choice once again? Deciding to bypass Kapuvar and hopefully going to Sopron would prove challenging when they arrive. Thankfully they had four gold watches and some other jewelry that Kati had hidden away to use as money for their fares and the guides. But, how long would it hold out before they had nothing? The guards at the border had other ideas and would send them back to Budapest but some quick thinking on Kati’s part solved the problem. Going to Kapuvar was step one to freedom and staying in the home of the Goldsmits the next. Life often creates more challenges and their final destination needed to be decided and Elizabeth Goldsmit provided the right person to guide them hopefully to freedom. Zoltan their guide, a train overcrowded, children at hand the author then flashes back to her past and what happened when she got off another train and the fate of her parents and family. She describes how Kati lived in poor unsanitary conditions, working for the Nazi’s and finally set free at the end of the war. Faith, hope and the will to survive are at the heart of this true story of a family’s strength, will and loyalty to each other and one man who would never say I CAN’T! The final train, an older man comes to their rescue, a Shabbat Dinner and a young teenager that sacrifices it all to help people she did not even know.
Kati was elated by the news but fearful that when dinner was over she and her family would need lodgings and then sent to a DP Camp. Promising her that it would never happen is a tall order since Adolph always kept his word. They had nowhere to go after the dinner and no hotel that had a room but Adolph finds a way to hopefully solve the problem but can he? Chapter 12 will bring tears to your eyes as you hear the story of how she escaped, where she went, the friendships she made and the loneliness she endured even though she was living with her uncles doing all of the cooking and house cleaning. Gone was any promise of a normal life she had before the war. No family and yet she was lucky to meet Rosa and who had a son named Adolph and miracles and love at first sight is not farfetched but makes this story so heartfelt and true to life. Finding a church and a sister that wanted to help them find somewhere to stay proved to futile until someone walks into the church named Annemarie and the smile on the face of the teenager will bring tears to your eyes when you learn of the sacrifices she made and what her family does for Kati and her family. Thanks to Jewish Immigrant Aid and Services they were able to sustain themselves for a while but how long could they remain with this family and what about their final journey?
Annemarie was their savor and Kati years later as you will read in the touching epilogue manage to do something that she never expected at all. Sometimes the choices we make are difficult. Choices come with consequences and some often go headstrong but Kati and her family realized that regardless of the outcome they needed to do what so many others did and leave. Read the ending, find out what happens when two worlds become one and understand the courage of so many not just Kati and her family but others who decided that captivity, curfews, cruelties and prejudice needed to be overcome and fought and the road to freedom no matter how long it took was never really too long.